The Kings are in desperate need of a good turnaround season.
Sacramento is on a 15-year playoff drought, tied for the longest such streak in NBA history. After going 31-41 in consecutive seasons, Luke Walton’s squad will need a substantial turnaround to avoid making unfortunate history.
Luckily for the Kings, the team has pulled off year-to-year comebacks in the past. Here is a look back at some of the franchise’s worst seasons along with some of its greatest turnarounds.
What was the worst season in Kings history?
The Kings’ worst regular season record came during its current playoff drought. The 2008-09 squad went just 17-65, becoming only the third team in franchise history to win fewer than 20 games. The franchise won just 19 games in 1958-59 and 1959-60, back when it was the Cincinnati Royals.
Somehow, things got worse from there. The Kings had the worst record in the league, which inherently gave them the best lottery odds. The ping-pong balls worked against them, though, as they dropped and landed the No. 4 pick. After Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet and James Harden were taken, the Kings selected Tyreke Evans. Just three picks later, a fella named Steph Curry went to the Golden State Warriors.
Sacramento ultimately won eight more games in 2009-10 than it did the year prior, but the team still has failed to conquer its postseason hurdle.
What was the Kings’ best one-year turnaround in history?
If the franchise is looking to turn things around in 2021-22, it can look to the 1978-79 team for inspiration. The Kansas City Kings went from 31-51 in 1977-78 to the second round of the playoffs with a 48-34 regular season record in 1978-79.
The Kings’ best comeback since moving to Sacramento in 1985 came in the 2000-01 season. The team went from 44-38 in 1999-2000 to 55-27 in 2000-01, good for an 11-game improvement. Sacramento had even better records in 2001-02 and 2002-03, but the team could not get past the Lakers and Mavericks across three playoff appearances.